Diabetologia. 2023 Aug 24. doi: 10.1007/s00125-023-05992-7. Online ahead of print.
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Insulin resistance is a major pathophysiological defect in type 2 diabetes and obesity. Numerous experimental and clinical studies have provided evidence that sustained lipotoxicity-induced mitophagy deficiency can exacerbate insulin resistance, leading to a vicious cycle between mitophagy dysfunction and insulin resistance, and thereby the onset of type 2 diabetes. Emerging evidence suggests that exosomes (Exos) from M2 macrophages play an essential role in modulating metabolic homeostasis. However, how macrophages are affected by lipotoxicity and the role of lipotoxicity in promoting macrophage activation to the M1 state have not been determined. The objective of this study was to determine whether M1 macrophage-derived Exos polarised by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) + palmitic acid (PA)-induced lipotoxicity contribute to metabolic homeostasis and impact the development of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes.
METHODS: Lipotoxicity-polarised macrophage-derived M1 Exos were isolated from bone marrow (C57BL/6J mouse)-derived macrophages treated with LPS+PA. Exos were characterised by transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis and western blotting. Flow cytometry, H&E staining, quantitative real-time PCR, immunofluorescence, glucose uptake and output assays, confocal microscopy imaging, western blotting, GTTs and ITTs were conducted to investigate tissue inflammation, mitochondrial function and insulin resistance in vitro and in vivo. The roles of miR-27-3p and its target gene Miro1 (also known as Rhot1, encoding mitochondrial rho GTPase 1) and relevant pathways were predicted and assessed in vitro and in vivo using specific miRNA mimic, miRNA inhibitor, miRNA antagomir and siRNA.
RESULTS: miR-27-3p was highly expressed in M1 Exos and functioned as a Miro1-inactivating miRNA through the miR-27-3p-Miro1 axis, leading to mitochondria fission rather than fusion as well as mitophagy impairment, resulting in NOD-like receptor 3 inflammatory activation and development of insulin resistance both in vivo and in vitro. Inactivation of miR-27-3p induced by M1 Exos prevented type 2 diabetes development in high-fat-diet-fed mice.
CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These findings suggest that the miR-27-3p-Miro1 axis, as a novel regulatory mechanism for mitophagy, could be considered as a new therapeutic target for lipotoxicity-related type 2 diabetes disease development.